Wednesday, January 25, 2017

The Call of Cthulhu by H.P. Lovecraft

“The Call of Cthulhu” in Black Seas of Infinity or Tales of H.P. Lovecraft: Major Works
by H.P. Lovecraft

“The Call of Cthulhu” is a short story which can be found in the library’s collection in ‘Black Seas of Infinity: The Best of H.P. Lovecraft’ and in ‘Tales of H.P. Lovecraft: Major Works’. This is a review of only this particular short story, not the entire collections.

The Call of Cthulhu is one of many short stories by H.P. Lovecraft, an author of horror or strange fiction. Despite Cthulhu’s fame he only appears in one of Lovecraft’s stories. Many other authors have written additional tales of Cthulhu, and there are still more written about him online, so to discover the real Cthulhu I decided to read the original. It’s really not very long and you can find it in various Lovecraft omnibuses, so if you are curious like I was its not difficult or time consuming to get a copy and read it. Now I had not read any Lovecraft before this and my preconceived notions were that it would be rather terrifying but it wasn’t really; it was more thought provoking than anything else. The narrator is looking back over documents of a psychotherapist and his patient, an artist, who went mad under strange circumstances. There are other documents of people around the world going mad and having strange dreams at the same time. There’s a law enforcement officer with a strange tale of swamp natives going missing, tracking them down and finding a strange cult worshiping a strange statuette of the same figure that had been carved by the artist who went mad. He takes the statute to archaeology conference, no one but one had ever seen it’s like before. In Iceland this time, the same strange cult, with the same statuette and same chants of Cthulhu are also recorded. Finally the tale of a seamen who at the same time of the world wide cases of madness, came ashore a strange island that rose out of the sea and out of a door so large it didn’t look like a door, comes the creature of the statuette. I’ve given a lot of the story away already, but I’ll leave the ending for you to read. I feel like what the story does is provoke thoughts of human insignificance and relative smallness in the grader scale of the universe. I think this is where the fear is meant to come from rather than from Cthulhu’s physical appearance and behavior. In this way it’s more of a psychological horror, so even if you don’t read horror, but like stories that give you something to think about afterwards, you may like this.

[‘Leaf by Niggle’ by J.R.R. Tolkien is another thought provoking short story you may like. It can be found in Poems & Stories, by Tolkien (828 Tol). It has mysteries of it’s own to contemplate, but no horror aspects.]

[ Full text of “The Call of Cthulhu” ] | [ official H.P. Lovecraft Archive web site ]

Recommended by Kristen A.
Gere Branch Library

Have you read this one? What did you think? Did you find this review helpful?

New reviews appear every month on the Staff Recommendations page of the BookGuide website. You can visit that page to see them all, or watch them appear here in the BookGuide blog individually over the course of the entire month. Click the tag for the reviewer's name to see more of this reviewers recommendations!

No comments: